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Sunday 23 February 2003


Stewart Island - Riverton

View West from Boulder Beach, Ulva Island

After waking at 7:30 and getting ready and packed, I hurried over to Golden Bay (a 10 minute walk). The water taxi to Ulva Island was rather bumpy and rocked and rolled a lot. It was only about a 10 minute ride though. The wind was very strong – it was ripping spindrift off the wake of the boat.

We landed at a jetty on Ulva Island. A track from the jetty at post office cove went straight into the forest. The guidebook said the first thing you notice is the birdcalls – The first thing I noticed was the wind whooshing through the trees and that there were less birdcalls than on Stewart Island because of it.

I walked to Sydney cove via Flagstaff Point and saw a weka on the way. At Sydney Cove I hate some breakfast. Another weka came up looking expectant and walked around in front of me. I then walked to Boulder Beach, West End Beach, and back to Sydney Cove. Along the way I saw many more weka, red and yellow crowned parakeets, a couple of kaka, and numerous other very small birds. The forest was quite pristine with heaps of ferns and tree ferns, large and small trees, and creepers – there actually wasn’t a lot of moss. Shortly after stopping again at Sydney cove, about 30 people turned up in a group and I decided it was time to go somewhere else. I went back to Post Office Cove where the Foveaux Express catamaran was moored on the jetty. I sat in the shelter and wrote my diary as it had started to rain slightly. Two retired Americans who had come over on the water taxi with me, came into the shelter, and eventually our water taxi came.

The trip back was even rougher than the trip over – and it was all from wind blown chop – not even swells, but the chip was at least a metre high. Back at Stewart Island, I walked back to Halfmoon Bay and got a toasted sandwich and hot chocolate from a café to warm up a bit.

I then got my pack from the hostel and took it to the flights office. There I bumped into a guy I’d seen at Invercargill and Arthurs Pass. In the café I’d read an article titled “A Wee Bit Rough” about the trip by boat across Foveaux Strait. It sounded pretty extreme – over 75% of the passengers threw up from sea sickness. The guy I talked to was at the flights office trying to get a flight out rather than the boat, since it was really rough on the way over – he said he was ok for half an hour, but then threw up four times – fun! That made me very glad I was taking the plane! I did a few short walks – Fusia Track, Raroa Track and Bathing Beach Track – they were all quite nice. It was then time to book in for the flight – there were two planes at 4:30 and there were enough people for one flight there already, so we got away a little early.

This time it was a ten seater twin engine plane. The air around Stewart Island was quite bumpy, but out over the strait, it was fine. The water looked very rough. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been on the “Barf Boat”! Soon we were back in Invercargill and I got a ride on the shuttle bus to the Frog & Firkin pub, where the Kiwi bus was to pick me up. The bus picked us up, and there was only six people on the bus, excluding the driver. The bus was quite a bit smaller than the previous one. The drive to Riverton was quick. We pulled into the Globe pub where we were staying the night. The others on the bus were quite friendly and fun, as was the driver, and we ate pizza, drank beer and played pool till about 11:00.